My mother, Shanti Sehgal, lost the fight against cancer on 29th August, 2014. She was a God-fearing woman, serving all, loving and giving and very, very brave. She was determined to live and valiantly fought the disease but in the end, her body gave up, though her spirit was undefeated even when she was heavily sedated. She prayed upto the last and was satisfied to see her entire family with her.
Hindu rites of Transition (death) are elaborate and last for upto 1 year and involve not only the family but the community as well. This makes the passing of the departed soul into the next life and the family members to cope with the deep grief, easier.
It is still very difficult for me to talk about my mother and I find it easier to pretend that she is living in another city. She is annoyed with me and will call me up when she will miss me.
Theoretically, the sacred rituals are meant to bring solace but the reality is that the baser nature of humanity is exposed. A family reeling under the impact of prolonged illness of the departed, weariness of the caregivers, astronomical bills of the hospitals have to deal with further expense of the rites, alms and donations and hospitality of the mourners for 13 days.
Greed,envy, idle curiosity and so on of the relatives make lives even more miserable.
I am sorry, I find it difficult to continue. More later………
As a child, I loved trains. Travelling by train was my idea of heaven. Running through the length of the train- the darkened and cold ac compartments, the overcrowded 3rd class compartments, the friends we would make on the train, the sea of humanity, the changing scenery and so on.
It had been about a decade since I had traveled by train or ever seen a railway station, so it came as a shock the stink and filth of the Chandigarh railway station. It was difficult to get any information. It was mortifying to realize the first impression visitors to our ‘city beautiful’ was hardly encouraging.
As the train pulled out of the station, we were treated to extent the ugly side of the city.
Besides, how can one describe the sharp, stinging sensation of injustice?